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Discover 20 Incredible Caves in Utah

Utah is famous for its most varied natural diversity in the world. It’s best known for its snow-covered mountains, dense forests, and expansive deserts. One of the incredible things about Utah is that it’s the perfect destination for skiing, especially within the mountains near Salt Lake City.

Thousands of visitors also tour the state for the Sundance Film Festival, the world’s annual film festival staged each January that brings together the most adventurous audiences and original storytellers.

Did you know that Utah is also home to the most fascinating caves and caverns worldwide? Beyond Utah’s vast, beautiful landscapes and far-stretching valleys lie cave trails waiting to be explored.

If you’re visiting Utah anytime soon, then these 20 awe-inspiring caves are what you ought to explore. They are perfect for relaxing your mind and soul.

 

Timpanogos Cave National Monument

It’s an intricate cave system located in the ranges of Mount Timpanogos. It has a steep cave trail that is well-maintained and paved, making Timpanogos Cave easily accessible to many people. The National Park Service protects and manages the cave, hence designated as a national monument.

The cave is open for guided tours depending on weather conditions and closed during winter. You will see tiny fossilized shells and coral embedded in the desert limestone cliff near the cave’s entrance.

Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave is just more than a cave! It’s home to a rich diversity of plant and animal life and thousands of years of human history. Featuring about 2,200 feet of passage on the Markagunt Plateau, the cave is famed as one of the biggest lava tubes in the entire state. The cave is thought to have been formed less than 2,000 years ago by flowing water and the cooling down of lava.

Ensure you come with high-quality flashlights to explore the wonders inside this dark cave. Some passages and exit points may require you to crawl, so come with the right gear.

  • Address: Duck Creek Ridge Rd, Duck Creek Village, UT 84762, United States
  • Website: Mammoth Cave
  • Entrance fee: : Free
  • Google Maps link: Mammoth Cave

Moqui Cave

Moqui Cave is located in the southern part of Utah. It is a tourist attraction and museum that exhibits artifacts, a rock collection, and American Indian art. Unlike most caves that were formed naturally, Moqui Cave is an old sand mine formed as a result of erosion.

It is a perfect destination for folklore fans, museum lovers, and history buffs. The cave is open all year round except in the winter months. It has a large parking space for vans and a gift shop from where you can buy a souvenir.

Scout Cave

Scout Cave is located in Snow Canyon Park, with a trail easily accessible up the steep slope by bicycle or on foot. There is a rocky part of the trail, but it is worth it because of the beautiful views of the surroundings. Towards the trail’s end is a sandstone cave, not too deep for exploration.

The good part about this cave is that it is easily accessible by all people and almost accessible all year round. Inexperienced spelunkers can explore the cave on their own.

  • Address: 5605 N 1180 W, St. George, UT 84770, United States
  • Website: Snow Canyon State Park
  • Phone number: +1 435-634-5759
  • Entrance fee: : Free for the cave, but the state park charges between $10-$15 for one day.
  • Google Maps link: Scout Cave

Bower Cave

Bower Cave is close to the Mammoth Cave, which means you can explore both on the same day. The entrance to this cave is through a ladder that descends to a big room. It’s a bit dark inside, so ensure you come with a flashlight.

Bower Cave is smaller than other caves on this list, but the adventure that comes with it is worth exploring. You must wear appropriate footwear because the cave’s floor is wet. Numerous bats hibernate in Bower Cave during winter.

  • Address: Duck Creek Village, UT 84762, United States
  • Google Maps link: Bowers Caves

Meadow Lava Tubes

Meadow lava tubes are located in Utah near Fillmore. The site is best known as Tabernacle Hills. Be extra careful while exploring this cave since some tubes are highly rocky. It’s quite dark inside, so you might need a flashlight. The cave is less crowded throughout the year, making it ideal for spelunkers who need quiet exploration or alone time.

American Folk Canyon

Are you looking for the wildest and most natural places in Utah? American Folk Canyon is a perfect destination for you, especially if you are looking for a wide range of activities at a single location.

American Folk Canyon is located in Utah’s highlands. Apart from spelunking, the site offers a wide range of activities, such as rock climbing, fishing, and biking. It’s also an amazing place for camping and very popular during the warmer months.

The canyon has an intricate system of caves ready to be explored with beautiful features of flowstones, pools as well as stalagmites. The surrounding area is a popular spot for snow activities and games during the winter.

  • Address: Utah 84004, United States
  • Entrance fee: $6 for a 1-3 day pass, $12 for a 7-day pass, and $45 annual pass.
  • Google Maps link: American Fork Canyon

Wind Cave

Visitors can access this cave by hiking the 2-mile Wind Cave Hiking Trail. It’s a well-traversed trail in Logan Canyon that offers spectacular views of Utah. Towards the trail’s end is a cave roof with an opening on top. Explore the inner parts of the cave and catch sight of pillars dividing the limestone formation into two rooms.

Bloomington Cave

It is found in the Beaver Mountains area in Utah. Bloomington Cave is a large tectonic cave with a mix of a moderate, easy, and steep cave, making it ideal for exploration by both inexperienced and experienced spelunkers.

Bloomington Cave is among the longest caves in Utah. As you explore the cave, you will encounter stunning geological formations, such as soda straws, stalactites, and stalagmites. Spelunkers may need full attire and equipment to navigate the narrow crawling points as well as the dark areas of the cave.

Crystal Ball Cave

Crystal Ball Cave is a natural limestone cave in the middle of the Utah Desert. The main attraction in the cave is the crystal balls, but there are also stalagmites and stalactites. Jerald and Marlene Bates of Bates Family Ranch manage the site. Tours are available from Monday to Saturday by appointment only. Cave tours are not offered on Sundays.

Mossy Cave Turret Arch

Mossy Cave is located in Bryce Canyon National Park. The cave boasts impressive views of geological formations. It’s a sheltered overhang covered with snow and icicles during winter and moss in summer. Visitors must take a short and easy hike through the spectacular hoodoos and a waterfall to reach the cave.

There are many natural wonders, like the giant balanced rocks, massive rock fins, and soaring pinnacles, which you can also explore in the park.

Wild Horse Window

Wild Horse Window is a popular hiking site near Temple Mountain in the San Rafael Swell. Within the area is a moderate-rated trail that will lead you to a spectacular open cave-style natural bridge formation. The impressive natural bridge consists of two openings that closely resemble massive pair of eyes overlooking the valley. Wild Horse Window is accessible year-round.

Patsy Mine

*UPDATE: Permanently closed.

Patsy Mine is another popular hiking area in Utah. It’s a unique old mine carved into solid rock. You must take a hike to reach Patsy Mine. The trail offers an ultimate bonding experience for the entire family because it is easy to hike, making it suitable for children and seniors. In addition, the trail offers you a panoramic view of the lake and Antelope Island since it cuts along the face of the foothills.

  • Address: Morgan, UT 84050, United States
  • Google Maps link: Patsy’s Mine

Ledgemere Cave

This is one of the most popular sites at Ledgemere Picnic Area. The cave’s entrance is quite small and may require spelunkers to crawl to get through. You can stand up on your feet once you’re inside the cave. It’s a kid-friendly cave, making it an ideal destination for the entire family. Remember to carry flashlights because it’s dark inside.

Garner Cave

Consider visiting Garner Cave if you are looking for a real adventure in Ogden. You will have to take about an hour’s hike and a short climb up a cliff face to reach the cave. Exploring the cave is tricky since it involves squeezing and crawling through tight passages. Most of the cave is also wet, and there are numerous broken formations due to frequent use of the cave. There are ropes to help you get through some parts. Don’t be intimidated because it’s all part of the adventure.

  • Address: North Ogden, UT 84414, United States
  • Google Maps link: Garner Canyon

Duck Creek Ice Cave

Duck Creek Ice Cave is a great choice if you’re looking for something fun and easy to do. It’s a small cavern in Cedar Mountain in Utah’s Dixie National Forest. It’s impossible to miss catching sight of the cave since it lies about 50 yards from the parking area. The cave maintains a chilly temperature despite the absence of ice throughout the year.

You may need to climb over some nasty rocks. There are ropes to assist you during the climb down.

  • Address: G74Q+JJ, Duck Creek Village, UT 84762, United States
  • Entrance fee: : Free
  • Google Maps link: Duck Creek Ice Cave

Hobbit Caves / Logan Canyon

Hobbit Caves in Logan Canyon is an ideal spot to stop by if you’re exploring near Cache Valley or Bear Lake. The caves are located just a few steps from the parking area. Kids, especially those who are fans of the “Lord of the Rings,” love exploring inside the cave while pretending to be the hobbits. Adults might have difficulty getting inside the caves since they are quite small.

  • Address: Logan, UT 84321, United States
  • Entrance fee: : Free
  • Google Maps link: Logan Canyon

Nutty Putty Cave

Located West of Utah Lake in Utah County, Nutty Putty Cave is a hydrothermal cave best known for its narrow passages. The cave has been closed to the public since 2009 following a fatal accident of a 26-year-old visitor. John Edward Jones was stuck upside down inside a tight passageway for about 28 hours. Rescue teams were unable to save his life.

Neffs Cave

Neffs Cave, commonly known as Neffs Canyon Cave, is one of the deepest caves in the United States. The cave features spectacular flowstones and a few stalactites. Exploring the cave requires rappelling, squeezing through narrow slots, and scrambling over rocky and muddy sections. The cave has been closed to prevent fatal accidents and protect the delicate formations.

  • Address: 4326 White Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84124, United States
  • Google Maps link: Neffs Canyon

Red Caves

Red Caves are two spectacular slot canyons near Zion National Park. Both canyons were formed by red Navajo sandstone. Though no technical rappelling is required, Red Caves are wet and muddy, with water flowing through some sections. The passageways are also sinewy curved, and lit with mysterious shadows. Exploring the Red Caves is rewarding despite the many obstacles you will encounter.

Final Thoughts

All the above-listed caves are worth your time and exploration. Each offers a unique experience, from lava tubes like Mammoth Cave to ice caves like Duck Creek Ice Cave. The hiking trails to reach most of them are also incredibly scenic, with varied landscapes of contrasting colors, landforms, and otherworldly textures.

Top image: Steve Bernacki via Flickr / Creative Commons.

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